Bev Jones (Manager School Based Development Project, South Australia) and Bronwyn Ward-Manson (Teaching & Learning Consultant, Australia & Manager DJM Personnel, London UK) show how team approaches are helping primary schools in Britain and Australia identify specific methodologies to support staff in the provision of a child-centred broad and balanced curriculum.
Specific schools were identified by Bev and Bronwyn in each country and provided with funds by South Australia Education Department to describe and record their work for inclusion in the project documentation. The following is one example.
Project 1: Methodologies for a the Provision of a Broad and balanced Curriculum Project
Fairlop Primary School in NE London has a team approach producing to curriculum organisation are reducing teacher workloads and achieving significantly improved learning outcomes for their students. Most especially Fairlop Primary was using student achievement data to structure future work.
Fairlop’s teachers believed that team teaching gave them a very clear understanding of what they were doing with the curriculum and why they were doing it. They knew exactly what other teachers were doing through the detailed programs developed across the whole school.
Working with Bronwyn they said they felt they ‘owned’ the curriculum because they had been involved in developing it. They said they felt valued by senior staff and their peers because they were part of an ongoing review of the processes and felt secure in the team work structure they all participated in. The schools main strengths were common practices maintained through collaborative planning across the school.
Salisbury North West Primary in South Australia also used a team approach to collaboratively construct their curriculum. Their aim was to develop a more reflective and questioning teaching culture to foster continuous improvement in the quality of teaching.
During team time teachers select another staff member with whom they can critically reflect, experiment and develop their own ideas. Each team establishes critical reflection times using the following guidelines:
- Time for observation and discussion to develop professional dialogue
- Identification of areas of improvement/learning
- Setting goals and guidelines for feedback
- Planning and structuring processes
- Reflection and future planning
For most teachers this reflective process is a logical follow-on from the classroom learning methodologies of collaborative learning.
All teachers in both Britain and Australia involved in these International projects recognise that every process is experimental and to ensure success, a variety of skill areas need to be addressed in order for them to move beyond comfortable confirmation to embrace empowering critique. These include:
- Developing trust and valuing difference
- Team building and accountability
- Supporting risk taking
- Conflict resolution
- Observation skills
- Questioning and providing feedback
A culture of support and reflection is an essential culture developed in the schools.
Schools in both Britain and Australia are wonderfully diverse and vibrant providing detailed and differentiated curriculum programmes for all students.
TEACHING is a PEOPLE profession so interpersonal and people management skills are very important.
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